Looking for Turbo, click here
January 11, 2024

How to Prompt your Bland AI Phone Call Agent

John

Introduction

AI phone calling is a cutting-edge technology that’s automating routine phone calls for data collection, healthcare, and use cases like reminders and appointment scheduling. Often when building their custom AI phone caller, developers hit a roadblock: prompting the AI.

The AI’s prompt determines its entire conversational capacity. It makes the difference between speaking to a random language model - that sucks at conversation! - and conversing with a “real” human call assistant who can engage in chit-chat, provide support, and answer questions.

When you write a great prompt, your AI will have a clear goal and defined routine, lots of background information about the task, and example dialogues. We’ll cover all three elements and we’ll finish with an example of an excellent prompt that you can copy and tweak.

Read on to learn how to prompt your AI call agent!

Clear Goal and Routine

The most important element of your prompt is the AI’s goal. It can range from offering excellent customer support to collecting a specific dataset from a bunch of small businesses to providing a succinct reminder to a telehealth patient. Whatever the goal is, spell it out for your AI in no uncertain terms.

Next, after providing a clear high-level goal, break it down into a call flow. Describe how the start, middle, and end of the call should go.

For example, you could write “Call the patient and remind them of their appointment. Ask the patient if the appointment time still works for their schedule. If it doesn’t, offer the patient a list of times to reschedule”.

Although in this example, we only provide three steps, a call flow can be much longer. It’s essential though, whatever the length, that you map out exactly how you want the AI to progress the phone call. Otherwise, for use cases that have deterministic outcomes, you’ll fail to get the output you want.

Background Information

This is self-explanatory. To make your prompt ultra-effective, aside from offering a clear goal and routine, you must include background information about the task itself, the role the AI is playing, and who the human on the other side is.

When the AI has this information, it can reference the massive text corpus it’s trained on to generate incredibly effective outputs for your specific task.

For example, if you’re creating a customer support AI, give that AI context about your product and industry. What types of customers typically call and what profile do they fit? What are common complaints customers have? Any background information you can provide the AI will make its outputs better.

Two sources of such background information are company websites and employee training guides (specifically for making phone calls). If you’re automating a phone call humans previously made, you should copy that guide for humans and pass it to the AI. Similarly, if you’re building any type of inbound support solution, you should pass all your website’s data to the AI. It will retrieve on that context to answer questions perfectly.

Example dialogues

Again, super self-explanatory. Provide your AI with an ideal back-and-forth interaction between itself and a human caller. The dialogue doesn’t need to be long. Ten statements are enough.

Your AI will notice the subtleties of tone and mannerisms that you want it to exhibit. And the AI will then recreate those mannerisms during its interactions.

Here’s an example:

You: Thank you for calling ABC Company customer service. My name is Alex, how can I assist you today?

Person: Hi Alex, I need some help with an order I recently placed.

You: Sure, I'd be happy to help. Could I get your name and order number to pull up your account?

Person: It's John Smith, order #12345.

You: Thanks for that information. Let me take a quick look... Okay, I see your order here for the deluxe tool kit. What seems to be the issue?

Person: I received the order yesterday but it looks like I'm missing a few parts from the tool kit.

You: I apologize for the inconvenience. Can you specify which parts are missing so I can submit a replacement order?

Person: Yes, it looks like the Phillips screwdriver and the measuring tape are missing from the kit.

You: Got it. I will process a replacement order for those missing items right away and have it shipped out to you at no additional cost. You should receive a confirmation email shortly.

Person: Thank you, I really appreciate you taking care of this so quickly!

You: You're very welcome! Thank you for being a valued ABC Company customer. Please reach back out if you have any other issues with your order. Have a great rest of your day!

Person: You too, bye!

Fantastic prompt example

Here's a great prompt that you can test right now. Note: When you test this prompt, update the request_data parameter in your API call and provide the patient_name and doctor_availability. Otherwise, the AI won't have data to reference when executing the prompt.

Prompt example

Goal: Call patients to remind them of their upcoming doctor's appointment. Confirm they can attend or reschedule if needed.

Call Flow:

  1. Introduce yourself and say you are calling from Dr. Smith's office.
  2. Verify you are speaking with John Doe and that he has an appointment coming up on Tuesday at 10am.
  3. Ask if that time still works for him or if he needs to reschedule.
  4. If he needs to reschedule, offer some alternate time slots on Wednesday or Friday.
  5. Once the new time is confirmed or the original time is reconfirmed, thank him and provide contact info if he needs to get in touch.

Background:

I am an AI assistant created by Healthcare Company to make appointment reminder calls to patients. The patients I will call are adults scheduled for check-up appointments with Dr. Smith, a general practitioner. Reminding patients to attend appointments or reschedule if needed is important for the clinic's operations. Missed appointments cost time and money, so confirming attendance improves clinic efficiency.

Example dialogue:

You: Hello, this is Claire calling from Dr. Smith's office. Am I speaking with John Doe?

Person: Yes, this is John.

You: Great, I'm just calling to remind you that you have an appointment scheduled with Dr. Smith this Tuesday at 10am. Does that time still work for you?

Person: Actually, Tuesday doesn't work anymore. Could we do Wednesday instead?

You: No problem. Dr. Smith has openings on Wednesday at 9am or 3pm. Do either of those times work for you?

Person: 3pm on Wednesday works great, thanks so much for the reminder!

You: You're very welcome! We look forward to seeing you Wednesday at 3pm. Let us know if you need anything else!

Person: Sounds good, bye!

You: Have a great day, goodbye!

Conclusion

Effective prompting will make or break your AI phone call. To write a great prompt, you must include a clear goal and routine, lots of background information, and example dialogues.

Check out our Discord to see how other developers are prompting their AI phone calls. And please reach out over email (hello@bland.ai) or on Twitter to share your prompt examples.

Thanks for reading - and until next time!

The Latest,
from Bland

Serving sectors including real estate, healthcare, logistics, financial services, alternative data, small business and prospecting.

The Latest, from Bland

Serving sectors including real estate, healthcare, logistics, financial services, alternative data, small business.

Bland.AI

The platform for AI phone calling